(Relaxnews) – If you’re easily seduced by the names of exotic-sounding wines, you may not be alone.
A study of consumer wine habits out of Canada suggests that oenophiles place more value on wines with tongue-twister names, in the subconscious belief that bottles with unfamiliar and “disfluent” names are rarer, reported industry publication Decanter magazine last week.
The concept runs counterintuitive to most consumer studies which find that native English speakers are more drawn to products with easy-to-read fonts and orthographically familiar names and spellings.
But that theory doesn’t hold up in the world of wine, said lead researcher Antonia Mantonakis, given that vino is a “hedonistic” product.
In fact, the more difficult to pronounce, the more consumers were willing to pay for the bottle — on average about $2 more.
For her study, three groups of between 41 to 48 participants were asked to rate the same Niagara Chardonnay. The first group was told the wine came from a fictional winery called Titakis; the second group was told it came from an even more disfluently named winery named Tselepou, and the third served as a control group which was given no name.
The most highly valued wine turned out to be the hardest-to-pronounce, as Tselepou was valued at $16 a bottle in the blind tastings.
It’s the same theory that holds for high-end, gourmet cheeses, Mantonakis pointed out, given that previous studies show that consumers rated cheeses with difficult-to-pronounce names in Brush Script font as more valuable and more gourmet.
Meanwhile, it’s not just wine names that can influence the drinker’s perception of wine. A study published last fall in the British Journal of Psychology also found that music can exert influence on the overall taste experience.
After examining the taste perceptions of 250 students, researchers found that the wine took on attributes of the style of music that they were listening to.
If you want your Merlot to taste earthy and full-bodied, try drinking it to the tune of Tom Jones, suggests the British Psychological Society. To add a little zing to your Pinot, try some Gaga.